“Two countries separated by a common language.” Was George Bernard Shaw right? I think it's true. Living in America, we are in effect learning a new language and even if the words are the same, the pronunciation is different. We say shopping trolley, they say shopping cart. We say lever (lee-ver), they say lever (erm, lev-er), but from the sound of it you would never know the word was the same. I hate to say it but the American pronunciation is more phonetic and therefore easier to read. Madeleine, our four-year-old, is more adaptable than us and takes it all in her stride. She is even correcting what I say when we go out, but if she tells me Tilda needs her diaper changing one more time...
So I am now going to the grocery store (supermarket) to find a cart (shopping trolley) and I will buy some eggplant (aubergine) and zucchini (courgette). I'm by no means a forensic linguist, but I do have a theory on how the language has taken different paths. When the founding fathers boarded the Mayflower in the 17th century, French was the official language of the English courts. Those souls who fled the homeland, however, were not from the the upper classes where French was de rigueur. So plain old common English was exported with them.
The English have always had a tendency to look up the class ladder, and in an aspirational way, have copied their feudal masters, dragging French words into everyday parlance. But please don't offer me a napkin to wipe the corner of my mouth at the dinner table. It conjures up images of dirty nappies, nappy being a shortened form of napkin (or could it be that it comes from the word "nap", meaning the hairy side of a fabric cause by short fibres?). In any case I'd rather have a serviette please and stay aspirational.
Talking of those in nappies, Tilda is growing up so fast. I’ve decided that given the increasing number of teeth, and associated biting incidents, that the feeding now has to stop. She is crawling on all fours, instead of commando crawling and can pull herself up to standing. The baths here are half the depth of ours, which makes it easier to get the children out, but also means she can practically get into the bath on her own.
Her bottom two teeth arrived on the same day, and a couple of weeks ago she got her top two teeth through on the same day. She had been very grouchy, with a cold and a cough too. I took her to the paediatrician (the children see paediatrians – spelt pediatrician- rather than doctors here) and found out she has an ear infection. She has been given an antibiotic called Amoxicillin, which I keep hearing as “epoxy resin”. Just as long as I give her the right one!
We’ve met our neighbours, having hosted a drinks party. They seem very nice but we are the youngest by quite a long chalk. The area is great, and each house has a massive plot of land, but the main problem is that it can be quite isolating. The Chicago suburban plains stretch on and on. We can’t walk anywhere from the house and that means that you are always taking the children in and out of the car to drive them somewhere to be entertained. Life can be very easy as there is lots to do, but I would like the children to be able to entertain themselves rather than expecting things to happen for them.
Madeleine is starting to settle in well at nursery. She has lots of friends and is kept very busy for the two days a week that she goes. The day is structured with circle time, individual time and play time so there is a balance between learning through play and just playing. Biased as a mother is, I can say she is very bright, and shocks me with some of the observations she makes and the knowledge she has. There is some benefit to the constant question “why?”, even if she is driving me crazy.